Amid high levels of air pollution, the Indian Railways has decided to install air purifiers at some railway stations across the country. Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation and South Western Railways are working to upgrade the conditions of selected stations. The project approved under ‘Smart Railway Projects’ is helmed by Bengaluru-based company Atechtron.
Earlier, 10 air purifiers were installed at various busy points of Bengaluru and they have proven effective. Traffic police personnel, who were highly exposed to impure air, have noticed considerable improvement in air quality in those places after the purifiers were installed. Taking this initiative ahead, the purifiers will be set up at railway stations where they will work their magic.
Initially, Tier-I stations of Bengaluru — Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station, Yeshwantpur, Byappanahalli, K R Puram and Cantonment railway stations — will get air purifiers in the first stage. Later, the project will extend to Hyderabad, Pune and New Delhi in Phase II. The railways have plans of taking this across the nation in due course.
The purifier will be installed inside huge towers erected at prime points of railway stations. It will cost around Rs 6 - 7 lakh to maintain each purifying towers. A minimal staff of around 24 people will be sufficient for maintenance since it is all managed by IOT. The towers also do ambient air monitoring and keep a check on air quality.
The railways are not paying anything to the makers of these air purifying towers. Instead, they are permitted to commercially display advertisements and collect fee for it. They have to pay a subsidised fee to the railways for every ad displayed. According to Rajeev Krishna, founder of Atechtron, this is sufficient for the company to maintain and survive.
The team is helped by experts from Indian Institute of Science to monitor pollution and suggest the right spots. There are doctors to give inputs on necessary technological developments based on he impact of respiratory issues induced by air pollution.
A big tower would cost around Rs 30 to 35 lakh and is completely made in Namma Bengaluru. It uses nano filteration technology with 6 layers of plasma that filters chemical, physical and biological impurities from the passing air. The purification tower is also made architecturally beautiful to attract advertisements that would help with revenue generation. Each tower filters around 26,000 cubic feet of air per minute.